Both managers have appealed to the respective sets of fans to come out in large numbers on Saturday.
NorthEast United visit Delhi Dynamos in search of their first win of Indian Super League (ISL) 2017-18. Saturday’s encounter at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Delhi will witness both teams head into the contest on the back of defeats, making their need to collect maximum points from the fixture even more important.
The Highlanders are yet to win this season, but their head coach Joao de Deus began his pre-match press conference by sharing some good news with their fans. “There are no injuries for this match,” he revealed. “Everyone is available, and probably, in my opinion, the best first XI for NorthEast United FC will be fit tomorrow.”
“One thing that has changed from the last game to this game is that I don’t have players with injuries, or with fever, and I don’t have players in a bad condition. So, there are a lot of changes, but I cannot predict what is going to happen tomorrow. I believe that we are going to be better and stronger than the last game, but of course, the intent of the team is to perform differently, because we want to show what the real NorthEast United is all about,” he added.
He also made it clear that NorthEast’s poor record against Delhi that has seen them get the better of the Lions just once in six attempts will have no bearing on the upcoming contest. “The history is for the museums,” he stated. “Tomorrow is going to be my first match, and there are a lot of players who will be playing for the first time against Delhi Dynamos. So, we cannot speak about the past because it doesn’t matter. It’s a different game, with a different team and different coaches, so everything is going to change.”
Speaking about the passionate NorthEast supporters, Deus hoped for a decent turnout in Delhi. “It is good to be with our fans who are supporting us, and I wish that tomorrow at the end of the game, the NorthEast United fans are in large numbers,” he said.
Meanwhile, his counterpart Delhi head coach Miguel Portugal made it clear that they were looking to bounce back from the disappointment of their first loss of the season last time around. “I have confidence in my supporters, but the main thing is to play football on the field,” he said. “It’s 11 versus 11 and we prepare to win. The last defeat gives us the opportunity to perform better tomorrow.”
The Spanish head coach also spoke about continuing to believe in their philosophy despite conceding six goals from their two matches so far. “Well, it’s (conceding goals) not only a problem for my defence,” he explained. “We have to play to our philosophy and that philosophy is to play with passion.”